Remembering Mary Chase: RIP, Mary – You Were a Doll

23 May

I met Mary Chase my first or second week in nursing school, as most of my class did. Over the years & throughout our training, Mary kept popping up when we most needed her; when we struggled to understand a new procedure she just seemed to be around. She was always available to help us test new nursing skills.

Mary was quiet & unassuming. She never complained, even when subjected to the stumbling, probing & prodding for which student nurses are famous. She was always there when we needed her. She was gracious in her willingness to be our guinea pig; to help us learn new things, to offer her assistance towards making us the excellent Registered Nurses we would one day be. We owe so much to Mary. I’m sure we took her for granted, although I hope we didn’t. If we did, I am grateful that Mary was never aware of it.

I feel certain that Mary is no longer with us. Over the years we seem to have lost track of her, which is tragic for one who gave so much. While we moved on, I believe that Mary continued to grace the hospital with her presence; offering herself to class after class of student nurses to help them learn. Mary was just like that & we owe so much to her for helping launch so many careers in the nursing profession.

Mary willingly offered herself … her body … to student nurses for starting first IVs & allowed us to give her our first-ever bed bath. We gave our first injections to Mary long before graduating to oranges & actual patients. Because she didn’t mind & seemed to be in the hospital when we most needed her, the majority of us gave Mary our novice enema &, as well as I remember, she never flinched. Mary Chase was the very first individual that most of us catheterized. I imagine she never complained because her place in history was secure & her contributions were unequaled. It was a “given.”

Mary had a terrific sense of humor & went along with most anything anyone asked of her in appreciation of a good joke.

On a particularly slow evening in the Delivery Room the nurses went to find Mary & decided to include her in what they believed would be the joke of the century. Many years later it was considered just that & is always remembered with laughter & a round of knowing smiles… with Mary Chase in the middle of it all. It was surely her most amusing contribution to the history of the hospital & her most shining hour.

With no one in labor, the Labor & Delivery wing of the hospital was very quiet. The nurses were sharing an extremely rare moment of boredom & decided to go get Mary Chase. Always agreeable, Mary willingly allowed the Delivery Room nurses to position & drape her on the delivery table for a mock delivery. They then placed a call to an OB – GYN doctor who was famous for his frequent practical jokes; many of which were aimed at the Delivery Room staff. They informed him, with a note of urgency that a patient of his was on the delivery table & ready to deliver.

With every bit of haste, the doctor arrived at the hospital, changed into scrubs, washed his hands at the scrub sink & rushed into the delivery room where Mary Chase was draped & waiting for him on the table. He sat down on the delivery stool & looked into the “woman parts” of Mary Chase. He breathed forth an expletive that could have been heard several states away, got up from the stool & left the hospital amid waves of laughter from the delivery room nurses.

The story has become a classic …

I’m sure that some part of Mary Chase, if at all possible in the depths of her plastic brain, was also laughing that night. Everyone KNEW what reaction the OB doctor would have when he looked up at Mary Chase’s plastic vagina.

Our Mary Chase & the entire series of Mary Chases were life-size, anatomically correct teaching mannequins that graced the classrooms in most every teaching hospital of the day. They were invaluable & I will never forget “our” Mary Chase & the wonderful story of her night in the Delivery Room.

Rest in Peace, Mary Chase. You were a doll ……………..

Mary Chase 2



8 Responses to “Remembering Mary Chase: RIP, Mary – You Were a Doll”

  1. Tony May 23, 2015 at 10:24 pm #

    That was a very nice tribute to Mary.
    Linda,I’m sure she would have greatly appreciated it.
    We like to keep the Happy Memories Forever
    : )


    • heimdalco May 23, 2015 at 10:28 pm #

      Tony … I must have written a very effective blog entry to make Mary seem so real … LOL. She was an anatomically correct teaching mannequin but did seem real a lot of the time. She was the coolest …


  2. Willy (the husband) May 23, 2015 at 11:00 pm #

    Oh man! You had me all the way to the end and I thought she was real … and didn’t have much of a life to hang around the hospital and let all of you rookies go “plowing around” in her body. You have told me this story before but the way you told it today I really thought she was hanging around there to help you girls get better at your job … no matter if it was uncomfortable to her. Good writing!

    I guess she is like the 150 lb “dummy” that we rescue from the top of poles. Pretty sure he’s not anatomically correct (never thought to check?), but I’ve seen him fall several times when the idea is to lower him to the ground with a rope, and he keeps living (sort of).

    Thanks for the good story Linda and I hope I wasn’t the only one fooled.


    • heimdalco May 23, 2015 at 11:20 pm #

      Thanks for the wonderful response, Willy.

      No, you weren’t the only person who thought she was real but you did realize at the end that she wasn’t. 2 people were totally fooled & told me what a lovely tribute it was to Mary & how she would have appreciated it.

      Thanks again, Willy for continuing to read my stuff …


  3. Leslie Miller May 24, 2015 at 11:26 pm #

    You had me thinking all the way to her plastic brain that she was a real person!!! I just could not get over that this poor woman had to endure all the pricking and prodding of all you soon to be nurses. I was envisioning all the procedures and was feeling so sorry for her. If I was a little brighter I would have picked up on something when you said Mary was never aware of you guys taking her for granted. That did give me a little pause..I was thinking how does she know if Mary was aware of that or not? As always..very good read and you even gave it away in the title..She was a Doll…LOL..Loved this one Linda


    • heimdalco May 24, 2015 at 11:38 pm #

      LOL, Leslie … in some vague way I think Mary Chase was kind of alive to many of us. While I may have forgotten some of my classmates, I still have a vivid memory of Mary, all the vile things we did to her & all of her plastic orifices.

      Thanks for reading my stuff. I’m glad I fooled you. Fooled WIlly, too.

      Love you


  4. writersbridgebridgebuilder May 25, 2015 at 4:18 pm #

    I kept thinking: My God, this woman is a saint. I should have seen it coming. Great story.


    • heimdalco May 25, 2015 at 5:07 pm #

      Thanks so much, Daryl. Glad I fooled you.

      Thank you for reading my stuff …


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